Let’s talk collars

Hey all!  I am so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted.  I seem to have miraculously developed a social life as well as a fondness for going to the gym.  It’s crazy.  I feel like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone, LOL.  

Inara got a new collar in the mail today, so I wanted to spend some time talking about the various collar options you have for your dogs, both training and regular collars.  First though, a picture of Inara in her new collar:


Turquoise lizard-print leather with hot pink suede lining, from www.collarmania.com
Turquoise lizard-print leather with hot pink suede lining, from http://www.collarmania.com

Every pit bull needs to have on them at all times a well-fitting, strong collar with ID tags. I’m a collar snob and only get my collars from Collarmania.  Each collar is custom-made for your dog, and the materials that Lisa uses are extremely high-quality.  I never worry about one of her collars breaking no matter how hard Inara may lunge.  The majority of collars you find at pet stores have those cheap plastic clasps.  Please don’t trust those to hold if your dog decides it wants to be elsewhere.  Width-wise, I prefer a one and a half inch collar for Inara.  Again, it just makes me feel more secure that it will hold, no matter what.

The types of collars I want to discuss today are flat collars (nylon or leather), martingales/limited slip collars, prong collars, choke collars, remote training collars and head collars.  I will not go into training methods with each of them – I may do so in a later post, though.  For now, I simply want to make sure everybody knows their options.

  • Flat collars – these are basic buckle collars.  These can be bare bones or very glamourous.  Generally your dog’s ID tags should be hooked to one of these. Whether it’s fancy-schmancy embroidered leather or a simple nylon collar, I cannot emphasize enough that it should be strong to keep your dog safely contained, and fitted snugly enough (though not tightly!) that your dog cannot back out of it.
  • Martingale/limited slip collars – These are collars that have an extra loop that gently snugs up around your dog’s neck when you pull on it.  They can only tighten so much though, hence the name limited slip collars.  These are great for dogs who are able to easily back out of regular flat collars.  
  • Prong collars – Prongs are another form of limited slip collar, though they look very different and are used only for training.  They are metal collars with inward-facing prongs that rest against the dog’s neck.  When the leash is pulled the collar pinches the dog’s neck.  These are not collars your dog should wear around the house.  
  • Choke chains – Choke collars can come in chain, nylon or leather form.  These collars can tighten all the way so caution must be used with them.  Frighteningly, too often you see dogs just wearing these around the house, possibly with their ID tags attached.  This is dangerous.  Like the prong collar, these should only be used for training purposes.
  • Remote training collars – Also known as electric collars and “shock” collars, these are placed snugly on the dog’s neck and come with a remote control to trigger a vibration or electrical stimulation against the dog’s neck.  They have varying levels of stimulation.  Again, this is not a “wear around the house” collar, it is a training collar.
  • Head collars – These are based on a horse’s halter.  They are fitted snugly up at the very top of the neck and have a loop that goes over the dog’s nose.  They provide a great deal of control over the dog’s head because if the dog pulls the head collar turns his/her head around so they are facing back at you.  This is another collar that is put on only for training purposes.

You need to decide for yourself which collar is most appropriate for your dog.  This may change depending upon the situation you and your dog are going to be in.

To end this post, I want to post a picture of Inara doing her damnedest to guilt me into feeding her dinner early.  If she thinks it’s time for dinner, she’ll go sit in her crate and just stare at me with these big mournful eyes.  She’s pitiful!


The mistress of the guilt trip
The mistress of the guilt trip

4 thoughts on “Let’s talk collars

  1. Very smart collar! We just use a flat collar, and a halti for walks, the trainer we have now is weaning us off the halti. We are woring towards our K9 Good Citizn Certificate. Its gonna be rough (no pun intended) Daisy is terrifeid of the other dogs and starts to growl when they bark at her. The work though is easy, she is smart.

  2. “Again, it just makes me feel more secure that it will hold, no matter what.”

    I actually prefer a collar that would break under an extreme amount of pressure. Not for walks so much as for when the animal is unsupervised. I’ve heard horror stories of horses, cats and dogs hooking their collar/halter on something when in the yard or pasture and being seriously injured or killed.

    I think this is probably a much bigger concern for horses and cats than for dogs, but it’s good to consider if there’s any way the animal would be able to get the collar caught on something in the environment, especially if the animal is left unsupervised for long periods of time.

    Just another perspective.



  3. She’s never left unsupervised when she has a collar on. It comes off if she’s in her crate, and generally when she’s just running around the house. Because like you, I’ve also heard the horror stories.

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